Farmers Market Leftovers

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Occasionally I get asked the question, “What do you do with the produce you don’t sell at market?”  Of course a good portion of it goes to friends and family, we also donate some to the local food pantries, but I also like using our “leftovers” in such projects as these:

Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce – YUM!

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I made this for the first time last summer, and it quickly became a family favorite.  Plus, I LOVE being able to go to the pantry to enjoy homegrown tomatoes, peppers, herbs and garlic in the dead of winter.  I can these in quarts, add a pound of browned hamburger when we are ready to eat it, and then serve over pasta, or even better, spaqhetti squash.

Of course, true to form, I always tweak the recipe.  🙂  I don’t peel the tomatoes – too time consuming, and I don’t mind the texture of an occasional peel in the sauce.  Also, I simmer the tomatoes first, strain off excess liquid, and then add other ingredients.  This GREATLY reduces cooking time.  I’m all about getting things done quickly.  🙂

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Winter Squash Recipes

Here are a few of my favorite winter squash recipes.  Spaghetti Squash is one of our favorites, and is super easy to prepare.  Here is the recipe:

Spaghetti Squash

Wash Squash.  Cut top off squash and cut in half.  Remove seeds and innards (similar to what you would do with a pumpkin) and discard.  Put one half, cavity-side down, on a plate.  Poke holes in skin with a fork.  Add around ½ cup water to the bottom of the plate.  Microwave for 6 minutes, or until tender.  You can also bake in the oven on a baking sheet for 30-40 minutes, if you want to prepare more than one squash.

To remove squash from skin, carefully hold the exterior of the squash and scrape the insides out with a fork.  Squash will resemble strands of spaghetti.

While warm, add a generous amount of butter and parmesan.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Repeat with other half of squash.  Eat as a delicious side dish, or top with spaghetti sauce for a healthy meal!

Here are some other winter squash recipes I really like:

Stuffed Acorn Squash (from Family Circle Magazine)

Ingredients

    • 2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
    • 4 slices bacon, diced
    • 1 medium onion, trimmed and diced
    • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
    • 1 pound ground beef
    • 1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar (I use less)
    • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place squash halves cut-side down on a rimmed dish. Add 2 cups water to dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add onion and apple. Cook an additional 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in ground beef. Cook, breaking meat apart with a wooden spoon, 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, sage, salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs.
  • Drain water from baking dish and flip over squash. Spoon meat mixture into squash halves. Return to oven and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

And here is that AWESOME recipe for Butternut and Ham Bisque (from Family Fun Magazine):

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 very large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, chopped (you can leave this out)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups peeled, diced butternut squash
  • 1 cup peeled, diced all-purpose potatoes
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup light or heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham

Instructions

  • Instructions
  • Melt the butter in a medium soup pot or a large saucepan. Stir in the onion and rosemary. Partially cover the pan and cook the onion over moderate heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute.
  • Add the squash, potatoes, chicken stock, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pot. Cook the soup at a low boil for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the soup solids and a ladleful of broth to a food processor (do this in batches if your processor is small). Puree the vegetables, then stir them back into the broth. Stir in the pepper, the cream, and the ham, heating for several minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

I know it’s not soup weather yet, but now is the time to buy fresh butternut squash at your local farmers market – they will save in a cool dry place (closet or pantry) for MONTHS, so they will be all ready for that first cool fall weekend!

I am always looking for good winter squash recipes (seems like they are harder to find than summer squash recipes).  If you have one, please send it my way!

Cucumber Salad

This Cucumber Salad recipe is a staple in our house during the summer – so delicious and refreshing!  This recipe is from my cousin Kristin.

Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 cucumbers
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 t. salt
  • 2 t. white vinegar
  • 2 T. chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 c. mayo
  • 1/2 c. sour cream (or greek yogurt – we tend to like this better)
  • 6 T. lemon juice (or less, to taste)

Instructions

Peel and slice cucumbers. Put in glass bowl. Sprinkle with salt and vinegar. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Mix mayo, sour cream, dill and lemon juice. Add onion and cucumber. Cover and chill.

 

Stuffed Zucchini

In talking with some farmers market customers yesterday, I mentioned this awesome stuffed zucchini recipe that I found in Grit magazine.  It is a GREAT use for those huge zucchini that you don’t find until it is (almost!) too late.  🙂

Stuffed Zucchini

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Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, 12 to 18 inches
  • 1/2 to 1 pound ground beef or meatloaf mix (equal amounts beef, pork and veal)
  • 1 can (14 to 16 ounces) corn, drained, or 1 box (16 ounces) frozen corn, thawed and drained, or leftovers (any amount) from corn on the cob
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 to 4 eggs
  • 1 box stuffing mix
  • Black pepper or crushed red pepper to taste
  • Grated or sliced mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.
  • Wash zucchini and place on cutting board. Cut off each end and slice zucchini in half lengthwise. Use tablespoon or serving spoon to scoop out seeds and make a hollow in each half. Place, hollow side up, in prepared dish.
  • In large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except cheese. Spoon into zucchini hollows. Add water around zucchini to 1-inch depth.
  • Cover dish with foil, and bake for 1 to 2 hours, or until zucchini is tender.
  • Remove foil, and top each zucchini hollow with cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

I have collected lots of yummy zucchini and squash recipes over the years, and I will be posting those here over the next few weeks.  Keep checking back!

Vegetables for Market

This will be the first week that we finally have some substantial vegetables to share at the Walnut Valley Farmers Market!

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Yellow squash, zucchini, three types of pattypan squash, cucumbers, onions, and a few new potatoes and jalapenos.  Still no tomatoes yes, but SOON!  We also still have a FEW thornless blackberry plants left.  If you want them, make sure to come early!  We will also still be selling pecans.

All of that squash is making me hungry for this recipe for “Glorified Zucchini Casserole” from Tasty Kitchen  (if only I had just a FEW tomatoes …).

Man, now my mouth is watering just thinking about it …

When you try this recipe (and I say when, not if, because it is just Too. Darn. Good. not to try), I would recommend substituting some pattypan squash for either the zucchini or yellow squash.  They tend to be a little “meatier” than either zucchini or yellow squash and hold up better during baking (is it possible for a vegetable to be “meaty”? … I’m saying it is).

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We will also have bunches of fresh lavender for sale for at least one more week.  This week we will also be adding small, fresh flower bouquets! … something I haven’t done for awhile, but am looking forward to!

Visit is bright and early tomorrow morning at the Walnut Valley Farmers Market!  This pregnant lady doesn’t hold up well in the heat, so we are sure to be done early!  🙂

Kohlrabi

Our spring kohlrabi is coming along nicely!  Hope to have some for market in early June.

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Our kohlrabi did’t do well last year, since spring was so HOT, but I think we will have a crop this year.  Looking forward to some simpled, cooked Kohlrabi!

 

Cooked Kohlrabi

Peel skin from kohlrabi (kohlrabi smaller than 3 inches in diameter, you can leave skin on).  Cut into 1-inch cubes.  For approximately one pound of kohlrabi, add ¼ – ½ cup water and a few tablespoons of butter*.  Cook in microwave for around 10 minutes, or until tender.

*I add a sprinkling of sugar (½ – 1 T.)  before microwaving.  OR you can season with salt and pepper, and then top with parmesan cheese after microwaving.

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Strawberry and Mixed-Berry Jam

I am slowly but surely getting better at jam and jelly making.  Granted, I haven’t practiced a lot, because we are just now starting to get enough fruit to process.  But I have practice quite a big on jalapeno jelly, and last summer, with tomato jam (it is delicious … trust me!).

Now, I am tackling berry jams.  Most recently, Strawberry Jam and Mixed Berry Jam, using our own strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

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They are both delicious, as only homemade jam can be, but I think I prefer the mixed berry jam, as it isn’t quite as sweet.  Trying to capture the beautiful color in this picture … didn’t really work.  🙂

However, the next time I make jam, I am going to try a trick I just learned for getting that pesky foam off the top … adding 1/2 t. butter to the recipe.  Has anyone else tried this?  Does it work?